National Identity Card #1The biggest news in the genealogy world (well for those with UK ancestors it is!), is about to be released. It’s been coming, and we’ve all been waiting patiently, and now it is almost here. So just what’s SOOOO exciting? The 1939 Register. That’s what.

Not since the release of the 1911 Census has something been so anticipated.

So you might be wondering what’s so good about the 1939 Register? Well as there is a 30 year gap in UK censuses from 1921-1951, this fills that gap.

The 1921 is the next census due to be released, which isn’t scheduled to be so until 2021 – which is YEARS away! The 1931 Census was taken, but was destroyed in a fire. And the 1941 Census was never taken due to war going on … so the next one that was taken (and that survives) is the 1951. So the 1939 Register fill this gap nicely.

“The 1939 was a one-off survey of the public. The war with Germany had just started and officials had little time to lose in preparing for the fighting and privations to come. So on 29 September 1939, just 26 days after hostilites had been declared, a survey nicknamed the UK’s only “instant census” took place. The findings enabled the issuing of identity cards and ration cards, and register applied to ALL citizens.”

The details the 1939 Register requested were:
– Name
– Sex
– Age
– Occupation
– Address (at the time off filling in the form)
– Marital status
– Membership of navel, military or air force reserves, auxiliary forces or civil defence services or reserves.

It is these individual returns for England and Wales that are being digisted by Findmypast and are set to be released online next month. There’s 7000 volumes, which totals about 41 million records

For more about these magnificent records, have a read of the BBC’s article, and view the video below.

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